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Pakistani court summons Musharraf over US drone strikes


Islamabad: A Pakistani court Wednesday summoned former president Pervez Musharraf to explain his position on the US drone strikes in the country's northwest tribal regions, lawyers said.

Petitions say that Musharraf, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1999 and resigned as president in 2008 to avoid a parliamentary impeachment, had allowed strikes by the US spy aircraft, reported Xinhua.

Musharraf, who lives in exile in Britain and the UAE, has denied agreeing to the US drone attacks.

The Peshawar High Court issued notice to Musharraf when a US drone strike in North Waziristan Wednesday killed at least two people.

A group of religious parties, known as the Defence of Pakistan Council, have moved court against the drone attacks and the killing of innocent people including women and children in these attacks. They submitted petitions to the court to seek details about agreement signed by Musharraf with the US on the drone strikes.

Defence lawyer F.M. Sabir asked the court to issue an arrest warrant for Mushrraf. However, the two-member bench served notice on Musharraf and ordered him to appear at the next hearing the date of which would be announced later.

Several courts have issued arrest warrants for Musharraf in cases including the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in an attack in December 2007 when Musharraf was the president. He has never appeared in any court but said he will defend himself in court after he returns home.

Musharraf has also launched his own political party, All Pakistan Muslim League, in exile and announced that he will end exile after the dates for the parliamentary elections are announced. Elections are due early next year.

A top defence official reportedly told a parliamentary panel this week that the US carried out drone strikes from an air base in Balochistan province with the government's approval. But later he retracted his remarks.


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